Hawkeye commentator and Concept patient, Ed Podolak, recently reminded us about the hazards of wearing hearing aids in summer when he lost a hearing aid while swimming. “My right hearing aid popped out and wasn’t found by our pool man for two weeks,” he said. “He left it in the sun to dry for a few days. I put a battery in it yesterday, and it fired right up. Pretty amazing!”
“That is pretty amazing!” Sandy Brune, Licensed Hearing Instrument Specialist in Concept’s Cedar Rapids and Coralville clinics agrees. “Our hearing aids are made to be water resistant, but they are not waterproof. Typically, Concept hearing aids will be okay if rained on, sweat gets on them, or something similar. However, we have been surprised to find hearing aids that still work after being in the snow for two weeks or going through the washer.
If your hearing aids get submerged in water, we recommend bringing them to your local Concept clinic so we can send them to the manufacturer if they are under warranty,” Sandy continues. “If you cannot get to the clinic right away, hearing aids do work similar to cell phones in that they can be put in a bag of rice to let it soak up the moisture.”
Watersports, summer concerts, fireworks, cookouts, lawn care and more summer activities could benefit by a little preparation for those with – or without – a hearing loss.
- Schedule a checkup to make sure that your hearing aids and ears are ready for summer hearing environments. “The sounds of each season are different,” Sandy explains. “Most people are exposed to more sound in spring and summer due to the warmer weather and spending more time outdoors.” Your hearing health expert can adjust any programmable hearing aid for environments that have increased background noise, so you don’t have to worry about missing a moment with your family and friends.
- Wear earplugs or earmuffs for louder activities such as lawn mowing, concerts, and fireworks. Be especially sure to protect the ears of babies and toddlers from high decibel sounds like fireworks (greater than 125 dB). “Concept clinics can make custom molded hearing protection for those who are routinely around these types of noises,” Sandy adds.
- Going somewhere that’s crowded and dark, like an outdoor evening movie? Place a small strip of glow-in-the-dark tape or nail polish on your hearing aids. If you need to take them out to watch the show and drop one, you can easily find it. There’s nothing worse than having to search for a lost hearing aid in a dark, crowded place! (Plus, if your hearing aids have Bluetooth capability, you can find missing hearing aids with a free app.)
- Summer means hot weather, and sweating is just your body’s natural reaction to the heat. But did you know that this heat and moisture requires extra care for your hearing aids? Be sure to disinfect your hearing aids after being in the sun for long periods of time to decrease the risk of infection. “If you spend more time in hot environments while wearing your hearing aids, it’s a good idea to ask your provider about options to help you keep them dry during the summer months,” Sandy recommends.
- Pack backup supplies for your hearing aids during a vacation. “Take extra batteries, cleaning supplies, your storage case, and if you wear rechargeable hearing aids, don’t forget your charger,” Sandy advises. Extra supplies can come in handy when you are in an unfamiliar location or cruise ship with limited stops where you can buy new supplies.
No matter where your summer travels take you, Concept wants you to keep you and your family’s hearing health top of mind. Use these tips to protect your hearing as well as your loved ones’ hearing this summer.